On April 30, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made available a dataset that provides detailed information on medications that physicians and other healthcare providers prescribed under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program in 2013. CMS intends for this dataset to provide “key information to consumers, providers, researchers, and other stakeholders to help drive transformation of the health care delivery system.”

The prescribing providers included in the dataset represent more than one million distinct healthcare providers who collectively prescribed over $100 billion in prescription drugs under the Medicare Part D program. This dataset describes the specific drugs prescribed and statistics on their utilization and costs. For each prescribing provider and medication, the dataset includes the total number of prescriptions that were dispensed, which include original prescriptions and any refills, and the total drug cost paid by beneficiaries, Part D plans, and other sources.

CMS created the dataset using drug claim information submitted by Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans. With the information included in the dataset, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare drug use and costs for specific providers and brand versus generic drug prescribing rates, and to make geographic comparisons at the state level.